Good morning Everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy Author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy here with my first cup of coffee.
Ah, pretty wonderful Today is say it with me friday. Woo happy Friday everyone March Twenty Fifth hit ah blast Friday in March of 2022. Amazing I just feel like it’s going fast could be just me. It just me.
So let’s see where are we with things I feel like I’m still doing pretty well with the new plan of 2000 words a day although caveat. Um. I did not hit my two thousand yesterday. However, I’m still on track for the week and I feel like it’s still good. Um I had a lot of distractions yesterday and that was my own fault I let myself get distracted. Um, alas. I think part of it was the new schedule maybe oversleeping some but also I was taking my attention off of the writing and dealing with other things. Um. And I guess I could. There’s no reason that I can’t talk about it because one of the things we’ve been working towards for a very long time in SFWA is changing the membership requirements and in some ways you could say that I’ve been working towards this hm. For how long wait I can find this date hold on I know I don’t have to tell you to hold up I’d tell you to hold on. Okay I found it I’ve been working on this for almost ten years since 2013 how do I know this. Because ah my very first science fiction short story was published in September of 2013. It was a story called Pearl which is no longer up for sale and the reason it is not up for sale. Is because it does not have a happy ending. Although I love this story but I talked about it with grace at one point and felt like it was just not on brand for me because it doesn’t have a happy ending so I took it down and i. Have this idea someday of expanding it in my spare time into a longer story with perhaps half ending I don’t know I don’t know if it would work sometimes I think about maybe I should just put it up again with the warning but then it gives away the ending who know. Let me know if you have thoughts anyway, it was very interesting. Um, so this is like you know 2013, 2012 I don’t have notes on when I first wrote it I had to look up the publication date of it. So I wrote.
This story and up up until then I had been writing essays and well that’s not precisely true I had written some other things. Wow what’s the order of this. Okay I found it. This makes much more sense I have been working on this since 2008 that’s when Pearl was first published. Um, yeah I wonder where these folks are now. So anyway. That makes much more sense because I knew that I had started shopping my fantasy romance novel rogues pawn the book that became rogues pawn um in about 2007? Ah so but I had written this story first I know it was the first science fiction story I ever wrote and then the fantasy romance novel I started writing later but you know how these things go with try and get them published. So this was back in the day of sending out. Um. Well, it wasn’t paper submissions. It was via email. Um, excuse me but email was funkier then it was not as seamless I don’t even remember what system I used was it outlook already by them. I know I was using word perfect. So I wasn’t using Microsoft anyway, that part doesn’t matter. But um I did have my website I’d had my website since um oh like 95 I built my first website myself. But you know from my first publications and so forth. So anyway, I was always multiple submissions gal I’ve been a believer of that from the beginning I’ve never thought that I’ve always thought that that was bad for the writer. It’s it’s in favor of the publication I even gotten an argument with the editor once but I have um I would have a rule that and this was my ping pong rule I’ve talked about it before because I sent out lots of essays and short stories and I would have everything out. At 3 places at a time and as soon as a rejection came in I would treat it like ping pong and pop that one back out I’d have it all ready to go like where I was going to send it next. So always at 3 places and I kept track of this on spreadsheets I was using excel.
So I would be ready to go with you know, like the next place but I would also track like how long a place had had it so and here what I was terribly newbie writer I didn’t know much about the science fiction fantasy community. I didn’t have any friends who were writing in that world. Um, so you know now I know more than I did them but I had the story out parole to ah. Ah, magazine called Abyss and Apex and I also had it to a place called Aeon and Aeon accepted the story to rejoicing and I contacted Abyss and Apex. And I you know, emailed them and said you know and and this is what I did all the time when I would have something accepted is I would contact the other places that had it and I would say you know this has been accepted by this other magazine. Um, you know wanted to let you know can you tell me. Tell me the status of yours because then I would like if a couple places accepted and I would pick which one I wanted because the power lay with me then right and I think actually I’m going to modify this little bit. On abyss a and apex I had inquired much earlier yes because I’d had it for a while and they had said let us check. Let’s let me check on it and then never got they replied then but then never got back to me again. So when eon this is right. Then when Aeon accepted I set my standard of you know this has been accepted elsewhere. So I have to withdraw which is how I got an argument with this one editor at a literary magazine at a university because I sent her my you know. Sorry this has been accepted elsewhere I have to withdraw it notice and she wrote back and she said well you know we don’t condone simultaneous submissions and you shouldn’t have done that and I wrote her back and I explained I said you know having that policy. Ah. Makes the assumption that your time is more valuable than my time he said and it’s not fair to writers. This is a ah predatory practice if you know publishers even then you guys baby Jeffe I was you know fighting for this kind of thing but you know I was also working a job as ah, environmental consultants and.
You know it was I knew what fair business practices were so she wrote me back and she said you know I never thought of it that way we’re changing our policy so Jeffe fighting for writers rights way back when. So and then she ended up publishing one of my essays the following year. So you know it always works to communicate with people don’t burn those bridges stand up for yourself all of these wonderful take home tales. So anyway, Aeon publishes my story and they are you know. Wasn’t too rousing response but you know we also 2008 we barely had social media I think I joined Facebook in 2009 I’m pretty sure my Twitter was 2009 so you just didn’t know back then. And that was that was a good and bad thing. You know sometimes you knew how you know and I don’t know you wouldn’t get the say you didn’t have the same sense of whether or not something had been received. Ah, but then one day I get this email saying from abyss and apex. A kind of blistering email from this editor accusing me of playing her false and she’s like you double published the story you published it in Abyss and Apex and Aeon at the same time. So it turns out Abyss and Apex had published my story without. Telling me I’m serious reader I I mean it’s amazing and it’s not the only time this happened to me it happened to me with another magazine too. They’d never sent me a contract. They’d never sent me edits they published it. Um and it had gotten great review. Ah, but unfortunately. And actually it might have been Ian who contacted me about it saying what the hell was is also in abyss and apex who also had not paid me I mean all of these things and I was like I know nothing about this so the editors thrashed it out between themselves and it turned out that. The editor at Aybss and Apex was you know, horribly chagrined and embarrassed and said that she’d had a breast cancer scare and this had fallen through the cracks and I don’t know I mean how could they’ve not corresponded with me ever. Well so what it turned out was that I had contacted them with an email. Address that during this long time that they had had it had gone defunct and they had like sent the contract to that old email address I never got it I never responded. Um and so that was how it happened when I told my friend Kelly Robson this story
She who knows far more about publishing short fiction. She was like wow that’s really unfortunate because apparently abyss and apex had a much higher profile this is ending up being a very long story but you know Eon At Least well corresponded with me. I don’t know so anyway, um, Aeon was not on the list of SFWA’s approved markets so SFWA has had this thing forever where they have this list of publications that pay professional rates and are. There are approved markets and you could qualify for membership if you sold a certain number of works to an approved market. So I had Aeon was not on this list Abyss and Apex was which is partly why Kelly says that so. There was this thing on this sip well website because I wanted to be a member right here I have my science fiction story I was already a member of Rwa and I contacted the office as it said to do about getting my. Market added nobody ever replied to me. It was very frustrating and I wasn’t able to join SFWA until like 2013 or 2014 when I sold my first 3 book deal. So. For me for a very long time I have not liked how the SFWA handles their membership requirements and this has been you know like I was added to the short fiction committee and I was like why am I on this committee when I first joined them they said well because you were. Mad about that whole thing with ion and I was like oh yeah, but but by then I was writing all novels and I felt like I didn’t have a lot to say about short fiction. Um, so anyway, this has been an effort for a very long time and yesterday we. Sent out the email with we had a big bylaws vote we changed the membership requirements. This is something that started with Cat Rambo’s presidency when I was first on the board of directors and Cat wanted us to be able to admit. Um. Game writers and we started talking about how to admit, comics, writers and graphic novelists and the problem is is that all of SFWA’s membership requirements were predicated on word count like you these different categories and myriad categories for you know, like if you.
Had a piece that was this long and how much you got paid per word for that and for a long time. Um, you know like the flash fiction writers were very upset because they would get paid plenty but their word count wasn’t enough to qualify. So then when we started looking at. Membership qualifications for game writers. You know where they might not have that much actual prose it got murkier and then when we started looking at for comics, books writers and graphic novelists. You know. They might have very very few words and they might be in like little speech bubbles and how do we count that we’d also had these sort of archaic rules in there about the english language requirements and. You know we’re supposed to be an international organization and why are we talking entirely about english language and so by the time Mary Robinette Kowal was in office. We’d really come up hard against the comic books and graphic novelist thing because. She really wanted to get them admitted to the organization and and the figuring out how to fit them into the membership requirements was just incredibly sticky. So she said okay, we’re going to do a 2 hour work session. And all of us who were invested in this and I don’t know there were maybe six eight of us on this call and we go got on Zoom and this is a couple of years ago now and we decide to th thrsh this out you know and so it’s like okay we’re going to finish this call. We’re going to if we have to be here the whole time if we have to go long. We will. And we’re going to figure out how can we do this and we ended up coming up with this incredibly dare I say elegantly simple solution where we change the requirements to be based on the catalog of work and so now in order to be a full member if you have. Made $1000 from your catalog of work then you meet the membership requirements. It doesn’t matter how long the work is it doesn’t matter in what medium the work is produced if you’ve made $1000 you’re in associate. Is a hundred dollars and you know and it’s funny and something that we did in tandem with this was we were changing that whole qualifying markets list which is big change for people and applies very much to those short fiction markets.
And what we’re doing instead is we’ve created a market scorecard where we go through the different publications and we give them basically a grade so it’s a it’s a big change. It’s a big change within the community and a big change for us and I feel like it’s an enormously positive one. Um. But yesterday there were a lot of questions and I was kept going and answering them I felt like I needed to I had to go to Mary Robinette cause we hit 1 snag and I was like do you remember why we did this and so I was texting with her later on the day and. Said I can’t believe there’s so many questions because people are like well what about poetry and what about this and what if I do x y z and I mean a lot of them were good questions but it’s like so many questions and Mary Robinette that was like you don’t have to answer them all. That’s like I know. But so anyway. I got distracted yesterday. That was all a very long way of saying that. But I’m hugely happy about this? Um, achievement I’m really happy to have gotten this out there. It’s very funny because when we put together the press release on this. Our communications director took out I’d put in a thing about acknowledging Cat Rambo and Mary Robinette koal on their contributions as the administration on this and they um. And she wanted to take it out and I said no I think it’s really important because we’ve been working on this a long time I want people to know that we didn’t just make this a spur of the moments decision and I also want to acknowledge their leadership on this and yesterday I saw this tweet where somebody thanked Cat and Mary Robinette for making it possible for them to join and cap very graciously said. Don’t forget current president Jeffe Kennedy and theel just liked it. She didn’t like it thought it would be nice of her to reply because I said thanks cap you know. Thought it would have been nice of her to reply and be like oh my bad and thank you too Jeffe but now she didn’t so I guess I’m I’m chopped liver. Ah funny how those things work isn’t it. But yeah, it’s a big accomplishment. A lot of people worked on this who have not gotten acknowledged. And I’m super excited. Super excited to to sort of open these gates that were very rusty and creaky and did not work. Well, it’s also going to be a huge benefit to our staff that’s going to be much much easier for them to review. Membership.
So that there will not be newbie writers out there whose emails are never replied to again. Oh that’s the angel singing on that note I’m gonna go I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I will talk to you on Monday youall take care bye bye.